Your child’s personality

A few days ago I wrote tongue-in-cheek on Facebook that if strong-willed and defiant children are more likely to grow up to be CEOs, then I’d better be raising the next Steve Jobs. I was having a tougher-than-usual week with my 7 year-old, and instead of pulling out the last strand of hair still standing on my head, I made myself look on the possible bright side to get me through this rough patch called motherhood.

Then yesterday I read the ever wise Delia Lloyd in her post Five Ways to Think about Personality Types, and I heard about the DISC Personality Assessment, which focuses on the behavioral characteristics that make up an individual’s personality. The descriptions on their site include General Characteristics, Value to Team, Possible Weaknesses, Motivated By, DO and DON’T.

These categories translate very well into work personas, a very comfortable territory for me. After all, I’ve spent a significant chunk of my life in offices or cubicles, dealing with bosses, colleagues and subordinates. It’s in the work place that I spend the most time analyzing both the angels and doozies that surround me: the manager who doesn’t like people, the support staff person who tears up at the slightest criticism, the client who questions every piece of advice that I give.

To be honest, I analyze everyone, not just co-workers: family, friends, neighbors. Okay, that sounds bad. What I mean is that I like people watching and people understanding. Why, for example, can my husband Max not hear me when he is playing with Fred or typing on the computer? Turns out he is very focused on the task at hand and prefers to concentrate on one thing at a time; next time I need him I will ask him before or after he is engaged in something. I understand to learn, and to be a better relative/friend/neighbor.

Yes, I analyze everyone – everyone except children.

When it comes to children, they come in these one-size-fits-all labels: easy, difficult, picky, shy, hyper, sensitive, rambunctious, stubborn. Am I missing any?

I was so floored by DISC. Because it led me to look at my little boy as a future adult, in terms that I can relate to. My boy was no longer a developmentally immature child but a real person in the making, complete with motivations, temperament and a work style. Reading DISC reminded me that my child is not out to make my life hell nor does he have any kind of childhood behavioral disorder.

To be honest, if I looked more closely and understood my child better, I would see that he

likes having autonomy and appreciates the freedom to make his own decisions.

places more priority on big picture issues than on routine details.

likes to think outside the box and come up with his own solutions.

If I’d understood Fred better, I may not greet him at school pick-up with the friendly “Where is your jacket? Don’t tell me you’ve lost another jacket!” Instead of fretting if he has an attention deficit disorder I would more calmly help him find a way to remember those mundane details.

When he rejects my instructions because he’s thought of a better solution, I may be less likely to respond with, “I’m the mother; why don’t you ever listen!”

I might hover less and allow him to do more.

I would lecture less. Nag less.

In the DISC “DO” section, when dealing with “D” (Drive) personalities, I am to “[b]e brief, direct and to the point . . . Suggest ways for him/her to achieve results, be in charge, and solve problems. Highlight logical benefits of featured ideas and approaches.”

It also says DON’T “[r]amble. Repeat yourself . . . Make statements without support.”

No wonder I’d been having a tough week.

Our little future CEOs. Teammates. Teachers and crusaders. Or the next big thinkers. They all started somewhere, and I’m guessing it wasn’t from easy/difficult/picky/shy/stubborn.

A renewed purpose to write (overcoming my struggles to write and blog)

I keep disappearing, I know. And I keep promising to be consistent.

I’ve been struggling to write and blog for exactly a year now. The ideas became harder and harder to come by. I no longer had topics I felt compelled to talk about. I’d think about the theme of my blog – motherhood, marriage and self – and feel as though I had exhausted everything that once screamed at me to come out. Did I no longer care about those issues?

I also began to question the whole exercise of blogging. For all the laundry I had shamelessly hung out over the previous year, I suddenly caught a delayed case of modesty. I thought about taking down some overly personal posts (if I could even bare to re-read some of them, that is). Some of the issues I had written about – depression, old family conflicts – were no longer really there for me, and suddenly felt like the black sheep that I wanted to deny ever existed.

And I found it very hard to be a good blog follower. Time, or the lack of it, and a job that consumes me for half a year, left me with little energy to follow fellow bloggers. We blog not simply to share our own needs but to be a part of a wider community and to respond to the needs of others. And not being a skim-through kind of reader, I feel that if you took the time to put your heart out there, then you deserve to have someone really read and understand your words. I was afraid of being selfish for blogging, if I couldn’t return the same attention to fellow bloggers. When my time became limited, I thought that if I couldn’t throw myself into blogging 100%, then I wasn’t going to do it at all.

But the idea of closing shop on Only You made me wince. Though I had neglected it over the last year, I wasn’t ready to stop writing, as shutting my blog down would in essence shut down a significant part of who I was and the larger community that I came to know.

I realized that I simply needed to look again for my focus. What is it that is now screaming to be heard?

For the past year, while I was hiding behind my blog, I was actually trying to figure out where I was going as a person. Somehow I felt gradually different, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Then, over the last few months, things became clear. Maybe that is why the old theme had come to resonate with me less, because I have now moved on to the next stage of my life. I feel less of a need to process now, to look back on my past. Having done all of that work has brought me to where I am now: I am ready to go, ready to make concrete changes, ready to become the person I have always wanted to be. And my husband Max reminded me that having grown doesn’t mean that the past – Only You – wasn’t real or wasn’t a part of me, that I don’t need to ditch or change my blog, but just continue with Part 2. So, having this clarity now, I’ve found a renewed purpose to write, to share, and to know that I can put myself out there and engage again as I once did.

Have you ever found yourself direction-less? If so, what did you do? If you’re a writer, have you struggled with short- or long-term writer’s block?